Local youths learn leadership at FFA camp


Members of the Madisonville FFA Chapter spent three days honing leadership skills and networking with state leaders at the Area IX Leadership Camp this summer.

Six students completed the final step in their selection for the state FFA degree, known as the “Lone Star Degree.” Ian Vance, Casey Corley, Kathleen Murphy, Camryn Frederick, Matt Longoria and Randall Navarro received the designation at the state FFA convention in Dallas in mid-July.

Four local FFA members – Blane Counsil, Karleigh Howeth, Wyatt Pavlicek, and Shaylee Turner – received approval for the American FFA Degree, the highest rank available to a member of FFA. The awards will be presented at the National FFA Convention in October in Indiana. Each of the four also earned a $500 Wallace Osborne Memorial American Degree, awarded to them by the Osborne family. 

Madisonville FFA students Jewel Smith, Mason Terry, and Lydia Crow were selected as Texas FFA scholarship recipients. Jewel and Mason received $18,000 awards from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and Lydia earned a $10,000 scholarship from the Wallrath Educational Foundation, founded by Centerville rancher Dick Wallrath. Madisonville FFA was recognized as a gold rated chapter in the state. 

In addition to receiving awards at the State FFA Convention in Dallas, one student, Camryn Frederick, served as an FFA Foundation Ambassador, hosting visitors and dignitaries taking part in convention events. MCISD dignitaries Superintendent Keith Smith and his wife Laney Smith received honorary Lone Star FFA Degrees for their loyal support of FFA and for being a light to literally hundreds of young people. 

Four FFA students, earned the right to compete in state level speaking events, conducted in conjunction with the Dallas Convention. Kate Coleman and Casey Corley placed third and fourth respectively in their events and Camryn Frederick and Lydia Crow were declared state champions in their individual speaking contests. Only one state champion is selected in each of the four speaking competitions, so the local chapter was thrilled to have two of the top spots, said ag teacher Lynita Foster.

Lydia Crow received a $3,000 award with her state title from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and Camryn Frederick is qualified to represent Texas in the National Speaking Competition this fall.  

Jewel Smith, a recent MHS graduate, ran for a position as a Texas FFA officer, subjecting herself to 10 intensive rounds of tests, interviews, workshop facilitation and speech deliveries. 

“It is a grueling process and Jewel made us proud,” Foster said. “Jewel advanced to the final round but fell just short of being selected.

“All of these students represented our town and our school exceptionally well,” Foster added. “The quality of these achievements is a testament to the hard work and dedicated practice of these young men and women. It also reflects positively on the parents and community that has instilled in them morality and pride in making the world around them better. Madisonville FFA thanks the parents, teachers and students for the sacrifices that made this summer of success possible.”